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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Community > Military Notes

Civil Air Patrol Cadets go Flying!

Oct 3, 2018

By: Contributed Photos
Cadet Maya Winograd and First Lieutenant Michael Schmidt (with Cadet Galen Ferrara photobombing) in the cockpit before an O-Flight. (photo by 1st Lt Bill Mason NY-387 PAO)
BETHEL - September 22 dawned with fog and mist but by 11 a.m. the visibility had improved and the clouds had lifted to allow seven cadets from the Sullivan County Cadet Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) to fly in a Cessna 172.
As part of their membership, CAP cadets get five flights in the front seat of a powered aircraft, generally a Cessna 172 or 182. These flights are called Orientation Flights, or O-Flights. The cadets follow a syllabus with each lesson focusing on a different aspect of flight.
The cadets were all using the first syllabus which is ground handling, preflight, take-off and landing.
The pilots flew the plane, based at the Orange County Airport, to the Sullivan County International Airport Saturday morning. CAP required very clear weather to take cadets flying but the pilots are qualified to fly in worse weather.
Once the plane arrived, they waited for the fog to lift and the first cadet flight lifted off at 11:20. The flights stay near the airport and are primarily geared toward the takeoff and landing phase but once airborne there is time for the cadets to actually fly the dual control plane under the watchful eye of the pilot.
You did read that correctly, the cadets actually get to fly the plane on their first flight. The pilot will establish stable flight and allow the cadets to make gentle turns and small climbs and descents. The pilot performs the takeoff and landings and always handles the controls when near the ground, but getting to fly makes the entire flight that much more memorable for the cadets.
A Cessna 172 seats four and cadets who are waiting for their own O-Flight can fly in the back seat when another cadet is in front. These back seat rides are “free” and a cadet can take as many back seat rides as there are seat available. Five cadets got a front seat ride on Saturday. Two other cadets only got to ride in the back seat but many cadets took multiple flights. Even a ride in the back seat is exciting. There was not an empty seat in any of Saturday's flights.
CAP pilots are FAA certified pilots. Some are airline pilots or military pilots, but many just fly small planes for enjoyment as a hobby. Potential CAP pilots must take several written tests and demonstrate competency in a plane during a flight. CAP pilots must take an another written test and show additional skill in the cockpit before they are allowed to fly cadets for O-Flights.
When asked why he volunteers to fly O-Flights for the cadets, CAP Second Lieutenant Alex Humes said, “Sharing the joy of flight is one of the best parts of the aviation community. Seeing the cadet's excitement about their Orientation Fights is both fulfilling and a great reminder of just how fun flying is. Additionally, flying Orientation Flights for the Civil Air Patrol allows me to get to know the great cadets and senior members throughout the region.”
Cadet Airman Alexa Pishtey said, “I learned that you must always be aware of your surroundings, in order to keep yourself, as well as others, safe from danger.”
Her father, Wally Pishtey, is also a CAP member. He said, “CAP is an outstanding way for my daughter to realize her dream of working and flying in the aviation field. Being in CAP allows me to follow and assist her and the other cadets in achieving their goals as well as adding to my own personal development and knowledge.”
CAP O-Flights do not count as flight instruction. Instead, O-Flights are intended as an introduction to aviation and a chance to have some fun. When asked, all the cadets who attended on Saturday said that they had a great time!

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